Sometimes I’m a little scared by how many writers there are in the world. And I’m not talking about successful writers either: they’re scary in a completely different way. I’m scared by the number of writers who are like me: writers who work around a day job and long to have more to their publication record than the occasional poem in a niche magazine.
Let me put this in context. You may remember how dubious I was about becoming a Twitter user when I rediscovered my account a few months ago. Well, unsurprisingly, I’m a total addict now: a story for a different post, perhaps. The point is that I follow quite a lot of writers. In fact, most of the people I follow are writers. Which is what scares me.
I’m quite competitive about work, so when I read that someone is working really hard on a writing project, it pushes me forward and makes me want to work harder on my own projects. It’s a very good thing for me and my wavering motivation. And it’s not that I’m resentful of the other writers. The problem is that I’m very pessimistic about the proportion of us that can become successful. Sometimes when I read something about how much a writer just wants to be able to write full time; about the submissions people are making and the competitions they’re entering, I’m struck by just how many of us want to be Writers: writers who get paid for what they do; writers whose work is read.
I don’t know what the statistics are for this kind of thing, but I do know that it’s highly unlikely that many of us will ever be able to make a living from our writing. And while I love the network of writers that I’m able to connect with through Twitter, I find this very disconcerting.
Image by OrbiliusMagister